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Chiropractic

A Piece of the Health Care Puzzle

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A Piece of the Health Care Puzzle

What originally drew me into chiropractic was knowing that I would be able to help many people. Particularly, the people who had been written off by other industries. I remember very distinctly when I started school that I couldn't wait for my first miracle case as a practicing doctor. 

Everyday people defy odds. Their stories of perseverance and willingness to take charge of their health inspire others to do the same. These individuals go on living despite the 6 months to go prognosis and not only do they go on living but they typically find a renewed purpose and end up doing amazing things with their life. I guess that's what happens once you know what it is like to operate with no guarantee for tomorrow.  

A nice perk to being a chiropractor is that we get to see this rare type of person on a routine basis. A not-so-nice anti-perk to being a chiropractor is knowing how many potential "rare" people are suffering because they don't know you exist to help them. 

Once I graduated and began actual patient care I'd sporadically get to help someone with multiple sclerosis, trigeminal neuralgia, Parkinson's, Meniere's Disease or epilepsy. And they'd get better. Inevitably, I'd get all amped up and go running to the neurologists in the area to tell them about my theories as to why I thought these kids were getting better after having uncontrollable seizures. 

40% of those with epilepsy have uncontrolled seizures even with prescription meds and often dangerous and debilitating surgery is the next step. Even knowing the statistics, not one referral ever came from any of the neurologists. 

The patients I'd see with neurological disorders were the ones who performed their own research and came to see us. Or they were a friend of a friend of someone we had helped. 

Once I adjusted a kid who had nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting). He was almost a teenager and when he came to see us he had back pain. The parents never even told us he wet the bed (which by the way is typically a neurological condition that can be helped without drugging your child and should get no ridicule from anyone about the issue). Anyways, they came from over an hour and a half away and did so quite consistently until we got his structure stabilized. One day the mom pulls me out into the hallway to ask if this could help with bed wetting. As a result of one kid's back pain, our office has almost single-handedly wiped out nocturnal enuresis for an entire Midwestern farming community as the referrals came flooding in with children who wet the bed. 

Where was the excitement out of the foundations and support groups for epilepsy & MS? Why do none of the websites have upper cervical care listed as a possible "alternative treatment"? Why are people told that drastic surgical procedures are their only hope when medication fails? 

About two days ago during a new patient consultation a lady says to me,

"my doctor warned me not to see you because you aren't a real doctor."

There are a host of reasons as to why this type of rhetoric is so prevalent and I will discuss these in detail in our upcoming podcasts and blog posts. None the less, I was impressed that I didn't get pissed-off by taking it personally. I think I laughed in earnest.  It was either that or get incredibly sad knowing enough people with power & influence still agree with her "real" doctor, not to my detriment- but to the people out there with neurological disorders. Especially to the people who aren't responding to one industry's treatment and therefore told there is no hope. 

I am by no means saying we have all the answers. On the contrary, I am willing to admit we do not (unlike some). But here is what I do know- The human body has far more potential to heal when it has a spine that allows for unimpeded nerve, blood, lymphatic and spinal fluid flow. The quicker people realize this the better chance they have to heal if they are unwell. 

By treating only the misaligned spine we often see some incredible results.  We also add in a little "real" doctoring where we spend time getting to know our patients and help them in other areas that could be holding them back from achieving their full potential. 

If you're reading this and you're one of the people with little to no hope and you haven't explored the treatment of subluxation, then I would highly recommend it. Know that the goal is not simply to get rid of 'XYZ' disease, but to get truly healthy and that requires more than the effort of any one doctor. It requires your commitment to improving all areas of your well-being, including the spine that houses your central nervous system, a rather large and enigmatic missing piece of the health care puzzle.

-In Health, 

Dr. Andrew R. Burns 

 

 

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Measuring Risk of Disease

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Measuring Risk of Disease

Our perceptions of the world and the environment in which we live are sending us to early grave...

More on this in a minute.

There was a time when people roamed the Earth and they needed to constantly be on the lookout. If you happen to have young kids there’s a solid chance that in the past couple of years you have watched a movie called “The Croods”.

If not, it's about a family of ancient cave dwellers who have yet to discover fire. Every time they leave the cave, they are worried about being attacked by predators and in constant worry over where their next meal will come from.

They had every right to be cautious. Poisonous snakes, saber toothed tigers, and giant bears (as if regular sized bears aren’t frightening enough). The continuation of the family genes and ultimately the species relied on a certain amount of paranoia.

There was such a prevailing fear that to this day it is still hardwired into our genes.

This is to say that our default setting is to assume that danger could be right around every corner, when in reality, more often than not in modern day America, we are far removed from that danger.

Few places left on this gorgeous Earth are truly wild, yet we go out of our way to manufacture fear on a routine basis.

Despite what social media, mass media, the commercial industry (particularly the pharmaceutical industry) and our very own governmental organizations would have you believe, fear and loathing should be at an all time low, but because we already have a built in bias for fear, and because we have a hard time prying our eyes away from our smart phones and TV’s we live in a perpetual state of fear that eventually "locks" our brain and our body into fight or flight physiology. Once this occurs, we open ourselves up to all types of chronic disease, a weakened immune system, disregulation of hormones and a brain that reacts slower and less effectively.

Here’s where I can go one of two ways: 1.) I can dive heavily into the research talking about how the hippocampus and amygdala in the brain has a built in system for remembering fearful events and how this affects the prefrontal cortex, hindering our ability to think clearly, negatively affecting our hormones, and how it throws our autonomic nervous system into a state of disarray leading to cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, stroke, anxiety, PTSD, depression and a plethora of other less than ideal chronic diseases leading to an early death while destroying our purpose in life, or 2.) I could take this information  and let you know that there are ways of reversing this damage?

I’ll go with option 2 (for those interested in option 1, here is a link to one of the best heart rate variability studies out there).

For decades, scientists have struggled to define stress. Because they couldn’t define it, they couldn’t accurately measure it. Because they couldn’t accurately measure it, they couldn’t effectively treat it. Those days are pretty much gone.

There is a device that measures heart rate variability which subsequently measures stress. Here's how it works: It takes readings from the heart via a pulse from a peripheral artery and then measures the minor variations in terms of milliseconds between each pulse. It then takes this information and determines how much or how little sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous control your heart is under.

The heart has dual innervation, partially under sympathetic control and partially under parasympathetic control.

Sympathetic control takes seconds to affect the inter-beat variance. Parasympathetic control takes only milliseconds. As a result, the Pulse Wave Profiler (the device we use to measure heart rate variability) can detect your dominant nervous innervation to the heart and also to what degree you are “locked” into a state of sympathetic or parasympathetic physiology. As with almost all things in this world, balance is the key! The farther you are away from having balance (meaning low heart rate variability), the closer you are to hearing that you have a disease there is no cure for.

So what the heck do you do if you have low variations in heart rate? Glad I asked.

  1. You have to cut off the source of your fears and threats and begin to change your perception! If that means giving up watching the news and scrolling through Facebook for hours on end, so be it. Maybe you need to quit watching those shows that put your state of internal physiology into panic, or you might need to ditch that abusive relationship or quit the job you despise going to everyday. At least this way you’ll have your health long enough to find new ones. Whatever your major stressors might be, the time is now to make them go away.
  2. You have to start moving to the point of sweating. If you haven’t done this in a long time, go slow and build up. This has to be done 3 times per week for at least 20 minutes. If you are capable, I recommend high intensity interval training (HIIT). This is getting long so if you are unsure of what I mean, this link provides not only some useful info about HIIT, but also a video demonstration that requires no equipment (Now what’s your excuse?). This type of movement will balance out the levels of serotonin, glucagon, insulin, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, while increasing levels of human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor.
  3. You need to have a free and clear nervous system capable of adaptation. Find a chiropractor in your area who does heart rate variability testing. If they do more than that, great! Static electromyography, thermography, range of motion and heart rate variability are always tested in our office and are excellent tools for assessing your starting point as well as progression.
  4. Meditate. Quiet your brain at least once per day for about 15 to 20 minutes and do nothing but listen to your breath go in and out. Your mind will wander and won’t know what to do at first. That’s okay. It will eventually shut up. In the meantime, pay no attention to it and focus in on the breaths. Incorporate this with yoga or Thai Chi and you will greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to get your health back!

This is not an all inclusive list by any means but will help get you on your way. You should also understand that in order to get your health back, you will never find a microwavable version. There is no miracle cure for any type of lifestyle disease and simply covering up the symptoms does not equal a cure. If you have any questions feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer in a timely manner.

-In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

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Outliers

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Outliers

Outliers

We all know someone who's smoked their whole life and died of old age. Or perhaps it was someone who worked out routinely, ate all the right foods and died of cancer. These people are called outliers and a man named Malcolm Gladwell wrote an entire book about these people.

These people are the exception to every rule and when it comes to heart disease (the number one killer of Americans for nearly a century) there was a town in Pennsylvania that had defied all odds and earned the title of a true outlier.

Currently, 1 out of every 4 deaths in the U.S. is the result of heart disease. The losses are catastrophic. Cost alone this year will be 656 billion dollars. Factor in the premature loss of life, kids missing out on the knowledge of parents and grandparents, and worst of all, not having sufficient time to fulfill your life’s purpose.

The town is called Roseto. It’s made up almost entirely of Italians and is strikingly similar to most towns in America, but what was it that kept them from having heart disease? Doctors and scientists were baffled. It must be the water, their diet, their impeccable fitness? It was none of those. Back to the drawing board they went. Was it their occupations, their socioeconomic standing or their genetics? Nope, none of those either. The truth was, they drank copious amounts of wine, ate unhealthy foods, smoked stogies,and most were overweight.

The answer to this mystery was found in a place the doctors and scientists had failed to notice. Hiding behind all of the medical and environmental testing, right there in plain sight resided the basic structure of a family and a communal environment long forgotten in America. A time when families ate dinner together, talked over a game of cards, and routinely attended community events. Crime wasn't an issue in Roseto. Government assistance was unneeded and local businesses were exclusively patronized by the citizens of the town. In the end, it was what they didn't have that made them so unique: excessive financial, social, and mental stress. As a result, most of the people in the town suffered from far less chronic illness than those residing elsewhere in the country. 

The truth is Fairborn, OH is not Roseto, PA. We have crime, poverty, and plenty of disease, but we could all use more family and community. More togetherness and less stress. There is a lot we can learn from science, our doctors and even in this case, the outliers. True health in order to live out our life's purpose must be our goal, and it is our duty to bring our family and community along for the ride. 

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

 

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Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis

During my time in chiropractic college, I witnessed some interesting events regarding research.

Sometimes, research goes the way you planned, and other times…not so much.

This is the purpose of research, to find out what works and what doesn’t. This is typically referred to as ‘evidence based research.’

During one research project in particular, there were 4 groups of people with osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones). The first group received a well known medication to help harden bones, known as a bisphosphonate. The second group received a chiropractic adjustment. The third group received a chiropractic adjustment and juiced leafy greens once per day. The fourth group received no treatment whatsoever.

Involved in this process were chiropractors and a medical doctor (in Georgia, where I went to school, there are no prescriptive rights for chiropractors, thankfully, so an M.D. was a necessity).

When the results came back from the DEXA scans (a scan to determine bone density) the medical doctor quit and refused to be a part of the study.

This is the equivalency of a kid losing in a game of backyard football, throwing a temper tantrum, then saying, “This is my ball. I’m leaving and taking it with me so you can’t play anymore!”

The group receiving chiropractic adjustments alone outperformed the medicine. The group receiving chiropractic adjustments and juicing grew more quality bone in 1 month than the medicine could provide in 4 years. The group that did nothing was only marginally worse off than the one receiving the medication.

Ouch!

To my knowledge, this study was never published, and likely never will be. When one of the main players decides the results only serve to undermine their career, it’s an easy decision to not bite the hand that feeds you and walk away (with or without their binky). Anyhow, that is all water under the bridge.

If you’re osteoporotic or osteopenic here is a brief list of items to incorporate (or remove) into your daily diets that will help build the proper bone density so that you can enjoy an active lifestyle well beyond your retirement.

  1. Get plenty of natural sunlight. Use some common sense with this one. Don’t go out and get fried in an attempt to make up for 50 years of living under artificial light. If you’re fair skinned and panic every time you get in the sun, read up on the use of coconut oil for sunscreen. No harmful chemicals and this will still allow your body to absorb vitamin D.
  2. Take cod liver oil. It is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. Take a whole food source of vitamin D. Standard Process (Cataplex D) and Innate Choice liquid vitamin D are both good options. Take 1,000 international units (IU’s) per 25 pounds of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, take 6,000 IU’s per day.
  4. Supplement 50 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K2 for every 1,000 IU of vitamin D you are taking. Again, if you’re taking 6,000 IU’s of vitamin D, take 300 mcg of vitamin K2. Again, whole food supplementation is best. Standard Process has a chlorophyll capsule that has 120mcg per capsule (going a little over with the K2 won’t hurt). Most people understand vitamin K as a crucial compound for blood clotting, however that is K1. K2 activates an important protein that moves calcium to where it should be in the body, particularly the teeth and bones.
  5. Juice or drink a smoothie daily that contains leafy greens. Kale, spinach, bok choy, etc. Add into this either organic kefir, or probiotic yogurt. The leafy greens will provide a good source of calcium and magnesium.  
  6. Eat organic, raw dairy cheese from grass fed cows! This must be raw (unpasteurized) and grass fed. Ideally it will also be organic to limit the low level antibiotics and hormones.
  7. Stop drinking store bought cows milk! I won’t dive into this, as it would take a whole new post to explain the reasons why this is not good for you, your teeth or your bones (I will eventually get around to writing on this topic). If you choose to continue drinking cows milk, do yourself and your family a HUGE favor and enter into a herd share agreement. This is where you pay a monthly amount to own a portion of a dairy cow that you will never have to lift a finger to take care of or milk (unless you’re into that sort of thing) and then receive a portion of the cows milk to be picked up or delivered to you depending on the agreement. Make sure the milk comes from grass fed only cows and the milk does not go through a pasteurization process. If you’re in the Dayton/Springfield area, here is a link to a trusted farmer I personally know who does this the right way.

Spend a little extra time and money investing in your health! In the long run, it is still much cheaper than the bills you’ll wrack up from a broken hip.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

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The Importance of Fevers

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The Importance of Fevers

Fevers

Fevers are not the cause of sickness however they are a part of the solution!

Sure they can be annoying and quite the drag, but the purpose they serve is higher than appeasing your need for comfort.

We have been conditioned since birth, through the mechanisms and marketing of modern medicine to reduce a fever at its first sign. In most of the medical textbooks I have read, authors frequently state the importance of fevers, but then follow it up with something along lines of, “since the discovery of antibiotics, the discomfort that comes with having a fever seems unnecessary.”

False.

This is how immunology works. Our bodies become subsequently stronger after each infection. When we allow our body to clear an infection naturally with no artificial external input we build immunity.

This process becomes compromised every time we introduce medications to override it. Many studies refer to this as the immunological side effect of antibiotics. It can either speed up or slow down the production of immunoglobulins/antibodies. These are white blood cells that have the ability to recognize a foreign invader such as a virus or a bacterium. The antibodies have the ability to recall previous information, such as, what the invader looks like and how the invader was properly disposed of the first time, making subsequent infections much less severe.

This is why we typically get ill from certain infections only once.

If acetaminophen is used to reduce the fever, then the illness will be prolonged, along with the amount of time that shedding will occur (the contagious stage of an infection). This means the infected individual has the potential to deliver the antigens (invaders) to even more people.

Okay, so enough immunology for one day. Now onto the meat and potatoes of what the fever actually accomplishes.

What fevers achieve for us:

  1. Enhances immune function and phagocystosis (when a white blood cell eats an invader).
  2. Slows down the rate of reproduction of certain bacteria and viruses.
  3. Interferes with the uptake of iron by bacteria so that they are unable to reproduce.
  4. Increases the ability of CD8 (cytotoxic T-cells) to destroy cells that have been infected by a virus. The CD8 cells also help to eliminate tumor cells.
  5. Speeds up blood flow and delivery of white blood cells to fight off the infection.
  6. Causes our breathing rate to increase, which increases the amount of oxygen in our blood to speed up the repair of damaged cells.

Fever Regulation

Fevers are regulated by the hypothalamus, a gland that resides in the brain. Other portions of the anatomy are also important in the regulation of fevers such as the limbic system, reticular formation (in the brain stem), the spinal cord and spinal ganglia.

Chiropractors who have been practicing any length of time can tell you that when a patient who has a fever gets an adjustment in order to correct spinal subluxation, they will often see either an increase or a decrease in their fever, depending on the bodily demands at that moment in time. This makes prefect sense once you realize that the main players in regulating said fever reside in the central nervous system.  

So the next time you get a fever, remember it is not a defect in your system but a reset of your internal thermostat in order for your body to properly deal with an infection, a toxin or some other type of disease process.

For parents seeking some good advice about childhood fevers I suggest this brief article. Brain damage from fever is thought to be at 107.6°F in children, though this rarely occurs unless there is an underlying issue with the hypothalamus or nervous system.

Remember, you know yourself and your kids better than any doctor. If you suspect danger, emergency care should be sought. An inconsolable child with a high fever is much different than a consolable child with a high fever. Your intuition should never be ignored.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

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Back Pain

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Back Pain

Back Pain

I have been dreading the thought of writing about this topic. Why, I am not sure. I think it could have something to do with the reaction I get from people when they find out I am a chiropractor, which usually goes something like “Oh, you’re a chiropractor huh!” Then they immediately double over and ask me to “crack” their back because it hurts soooo bad. Insert sigh emoji.

The truth is many folks would never know the whole body health benefits of chiropractic if it wasn’t for back pain so I shouldn’t bad mouth it too much.

Not to mention, back pain is a huge issue here in the states. In fact, we pay out to the tune of nearly 86 billion per year on this one issue alone and create a huge number of dependent drug users.

The bad news for someone with back pain is that they have pain.

The good news for someone with back pain is that they have pain.

What I mean by this is that pain only turns on when your body is trying to tell you something. The really bad news would be if you completely ignore it.

So let’s say you’re dealing with back pain, be it low back, mid back, or in the neck. You have some choices on what you can do.

First option: Do nothing at all. Let it fester and hope it goes away. By choosing this option you allow your nervous system to suffer. You potentially remain in pain for a long time and this is how something acute becomes something chronic. No bueno.

Second option: You see a pain doctor. They give you steroidal injections into the site of the pain and hope by the time the injection wears off your body will have righted the ship, or, they put you on some type of pain medications to take daily. If you want a synergistic effect, maybe they’ll even throw in some anti-depressants. Let’s forget about the “side effects” of these for a minute and realize exactly what this does. It covers up the symptoms your body is blessing you with so you can actually make positive changes in order to correct the problem. Again, amelioration of the symptoms is not the correction of the cause and once again, this allows acute to turn into chronic.

Third option: You have surgery. The numbers regarding successful back surgery are literally all over the place. Depends on who’s doing the surgery, what your definition of success is, how long following the surgery you ask the patient etc. A five year study conducted by The United States Agency for Health Care Policy provided extensive research on acute low back pain a few years ago and found that only 1 in 100 acute low back patients would benefit from having surgery. Couple this with long term arthritic changes along with surgical complications and you have a recipe for creating a lifelong dependency on painkillers and more surgery.

Fourth option: You perform some type of physical therapy with muscle strengthening techniques, yoga, Thai Chi, or some other form of physical exercise to help stabilize what could very well be an unstable spine. While the pain may get better initially, building muscles around a subluxated spine is like building a house on a faulty foundation.

Fifth option: You relentlessly watch those late night infomercials where you hang yourself upside down while dangling weights from your feet, wear a special brace, buy a machine that immediately resolves all back issues, hemorrhoids, and gout, then you actually go out and purchase it, only to find out what buyers remorse is truly all about.  

Sixth Option: You see a chiropractor and get your skeleton balanced out so the muscles start getting the right signals from the brain. Now if you want to look into incorporating the fourth option at least you won’t be building muscle mass around a crooked frame allowing osteoarthritis to take root.

Every case of back pain is different and luckily there are all types of chiropractors out there who perform varying techniques. What works for one, may not work for the other. If you have tried chiropractic in the past and it was ineffective, there’s an excellent chance your body was simply unresponsive to the technique being utilized. Try a different office with a different approach, but most of all, do not give up hope and resign yourself to a lifetime of chronic misery, pain and drugs.

In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns  

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4 Steps To Not Being The 7 Out Of 10

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4 Steps To Not Being The 7 Out Of 10

Our bodies are designed in a wonderful and amazing way. We never have to tell our stomachs to digest food. If bacteria in our bodies get out of line, we do not need to consciously activate a fever. If we fall and scrape our elbow, we don’t grow an awkwardly placed third ear in its stead, but rather replace it with new skin. There is an innate wisdom in each and every one of us that works harmoniously with our environment.

So why then do we have so much disease? Why is obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, and stroke killing so many Americans? The truth is lifestyle disease has far surpassed any type of communicable disease in every area of the earth except for sub-Saharan Africa. We literally do it to ourselves. We constantly ignore pain signals by covering them up with over-the-counter or prescription drugs. If we have high blood pressure, we artificially lower it with drugs. If we are obese, instead of eating properly and exercising, we staple our stomachs so it can’t hold as much food. We attempt in every way possible to short-cut and circumvent the natural symptoms of poor choices and all this leads to is an unsustainable “health care” system that is currently responsible for roughly 19% of our GDP as a country. Japan has gone so far to reduce obesity that they have developed a “fat tax,” knowing full well it will cost them as a nation in the long run, meanwhile most Americans are still content with eating food-like products synthesized in test tubes and chemically drowned to taste like it’s natural counterpart for the sake of saving ten dollars at the grocery store each visit. To say this is lacking any type of foresight to the impending medical bankruptcy (#1 cause of bankruptcy in the US), decreased quality of life for themselves and the family members who have to take care of them, and ultimately an early grave is a grandiose understatement. Right now, 7 out of every 10 Americans (70%) are dying from a lifestyle disease, mainly heart disease, cancer and stroke at which current science relates to only about a 5% genetic cause, leaving us room for only a 95% decrease if we just made a few changes!

So what changes can be made to help us strive to crack the 30% and not croak from a lifestyle disease? Here are 4 of them:

  1. Move: There are 3 types of people when it comes to exercise; 1) Those who can’t get enough of it (and frequently tell everyone they come into contact with just how much they love it). 2) Those who work out simply because they know its best for their health and they somehow muster the gumption to grind through it on a regular basis. 3) Those who actively proclaim they plan on working out in the near future but never (or once in a blue moon) get around to actually doing so. I (Dr. Burns) happen to fall into #3. My advice is this: You DO NOT have to do a traditional workout! Find something you enjoy doing that requires some level of movement. I personally enjoy many aspects of manual labor such as wood splitting, gardening, leather tanning etc. While I may not do crossfit or throw around free weights, I exercise by doing work. An added benefit to being outside is vitamin D exposure! How much time do you spend under artificial light? It’s no wonder Americans are across the board deficient in vitamin D.
  2. Sleep: This one is simple. When it’s dark out, sleep. When it’s light, wake up (preferably with a purpose). Your hormones and energy levels will thank you.
  3. Eat: When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re thirsty, drink water. Make sure the food you eat once had the capability to grow, such as a cow, a romaine lettuce leaf, or a blueberry. When was the last time you planted a Dorito and watched it grow? The water you drink should be as pure as possible. Reverse osmosis works well for me and my family.
  4. Empower your nervous system: Often times subtle injuries (all the way to severe traumas) cause insult to the spine leading to reduced functioning of the nervous system. By the way, this is the same system that processes every emotion you’ve ever felt, facilitates the digestion of every milk dud you’ve ever eaten, and caused your face to turn bright red when you accidentally broke wind in front of a less than accepting crowd. Have your nervous system tested through the non-invasive procedure of sEMG and if it’s not functioning optimally, find a chiropractor in your area who treats subluxation (bone misalignment causing less than optimal nerve function) and get it fixed. Every cell in your body will benefit! There you have it. 4 simple steps that will dramatically decrease the risk of you being the 7 out of 10!

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